On the big day we will follow you as unobtrusively as possible most of the time, capturing the wedding as it unfolds. There are three photography moments at a wedding however, that require a bit of planning.
Morning bridal portraits
Morning planning can be a bit tricky, but it’s needed in one case only: if you want to make sure that you will have the time for your morning bridal/bridesmaids portraits. If you want to plan your morning, then please read our Wedding Morning Planning page. If, however, you are happy with letting it go as it is, and not having your morning bridal portraits if there is no time for them – please feel free to skip morning planning; we will still come in the morning and capture your morning preparation, dress, etc.
Formal group photos
Formal photos will take around 30-60 mins depending on how many you want: each photo will take 3-4 minutes. It might sound like a lot of time for just taking a picture, but when you consider that for each shot we will need to find, collect, arrange people and pose them, and then take a few shots of each arrangement – you will understand where all that time goes. One photo that should be considered separately is the “All attendants” shot. It will take about 15 minutes to do – that’s the time usually required to collect and arrange all the people, so take that into account if you want to have that photo. We suggest going for under 8-10 group shots, which will take around 40 minutes. In our experience, if it takes more than that, people (and most importantly you, the couple) will likely get bored to death and just cancel the rest of the planned group photos.
You will specify the group shots that you want when you fill out our online questionnaire. Group photos are normally taken between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast.
Romantic portraits of the couple
These will be the best photos of the day, the ones you will want to hang on the wall. The absolute bare minimum to take some good ones is 30 minutes. We suggest, however, to set aside 40-50 minutes if possible – when you receive the portraits, you will be glad you took the time to make them. Romantic portraits can be taken between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast, or after the wedding breakfast, depending on the time of year and your wedding breakfast timing – please read below.
Wedding breakfast timing
An often occurring issue is that the wedding breakfast starts too soon after the end of the ceremony.
Weddings between November and February
If your wedding is between November and February, your wedding breakfast will likely finish when it’s too dark outside to take photos, which means that all group and romantic photos should be taken between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast. Combined, the two photo sessions will typically take around 1½ hours (more if you want to have over 10 group photos). Add the time people will mingle after the ceremony (15 mins at least), time for people to visit the restroom, then find uncle George who went to have a smoke, queue in front of the table seating plan, etc, etc. – and the time between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of the wedding breakfast should be 2 hours at least.
If your wedding is between November and February, and you’ve allocated less than 2 hours between the end of the ceremony and beginning of the wedding breakfast, we would suggest contacting the venue and asking them to move the wedding breakfast to a later time if possible (or the ceremony to an earlier time).
The 2 hours should suffice if it’s all at the same venue; if you need to drive from the church to the venue, please add driving time, plus 10-15 mins on top of driving time for people to get to their cars and then gather at the venue.
What if the venue cannot move the wedding breakfast? The 2 hours above can be shortened to 1½ hours (that’s the bare minimum); however, everything will need to be rushed. You will likely feel tired from non-stop photo sessions (right after the stress of the ceremony), we will have to take fewer photos (resulting in less variety), and there won’t be any slack (which is usually needed).
Weddings between May and August
It’s simpler for weddings between May and August. The sun is still out after the wedding breakfast, and that’s the best time for the romantic portraits of the two of you. We will take just the group photos before the wedding breakfast; 1 hour between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of the wedding breakfast should be enough for that (assuming the same venue and under 10 group photos). We would still suggest allocating 1½ hours though – so that your guests have time for something other than posing for photos.
Weddings in September-October or March-April
What if either summer or winter timing (please read the two above) can potentially be applied to your wedding? You may or may not have enough time for the romantic photo session after the wedding breakfast, depending on the date and your wedding breakfast timing. How to find out? That’s really simple. We will need to start the session one hour before the sunset (the actual session will take around 40 mins, but it usually gets too dark around 20 mins before the astronomical sunset). Google the sunset time on your date at your location (something like “sunset time 11 July 2021 Oxford”). If your wedding breakfast ends at least one hour before the sunset, then we can do your romantic photos after the wedding breakfast.
We know very well how confusing it may be to plan the wedding day with all the constraints and preferences. Please, please, please do contact us if you have any questions at all. We are not just being polite here – good planning will make your day much more enjoyable and will allow beautiful photographs to be taken without feeling stressed or rushed.